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EC head says ball now in court of others over Iran's nuclear plans

Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Friday that Iran's signing the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has put the ball in the court of others, IRNA reported.

Rafsanjani, however, warned that the parties dealing with Iran's nuclear energy program will be the losers if they try to blackmail or deceive the Islamic Republic over the NPT protocol.

"If other parties try to deceive, misuse or blackmail (Iran over the protocol), and create an atmosphere of intimidation, they will be the losers," he told worshipers in a sermon at Tehran Friday prayers in Tehran University campus.

"They will achieve nothing if they ever try to fish in troubled waters".

Ali-Akbar Salehi, Iran's outgoing representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna on Thursday signed the NPT protocol that allows snap inspections of Iran's nuclear sits.

Salehi told reporters after signing the protocol at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna that Iran's signing of the protocol showed that the Islamic Republic is ready to let international inspectors scrutinize its nuclear program to show that Tehran is not developing nuclear arms.

Rafsanjani said Iran will need some time to pass the protocol through its domestic constitutional procedures.

"The Islamic Republic has done this well and now the ball is in the court of others," he said expressing hope that others would be able to carry out their duties regarding Iran's nuclear energy plans.

"We want nothing extra. Nor will we blackmail others. We want whatever is their duties under international laws ... (which is) the assistance of the countries that possess nuclear technology to the countries that lack this technology to achieve peaceful atomic know-how."

Rafsanjani expressed hope that international policymakers bear in mind that their efforts to carry out their duties appropriately will influence the interests of Iran, the region and the world.

He said Iran's signing of the NPT protocol had foiled a plot to accuse Iran of possessing nuclear weapons, stressing that it also showed that Iran is trying to make its nuclear energy program transparent.

Iran's conclusion of the protocol has been so far widely praised by world leaders and international figures with IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, EU external affairs chief Christopher Patten, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini welcoming the move.

... Payvand News - 12/19/03 ... --

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